Reference Point:
How Citrix Engages Marquee-Brand Advocacy
November 2014                                                                    Gray

I've preached for years about avoiding incentives, discounts and other rewards for your customer advocates. There are much more powerful--and ethical--ways to motivate passionate advocacy, which I've covered in previous issues. In this issue, I'm providing a template for doing this and an example of how this can work, even when trying to engage C-level customers from marquee-brand firms--who of course are notoriously averse to providing any sort of recommendation  or even permission to mention you do business with them.

First a brief reminder: we understand human motivation quite well, and here are the six principle drivers thereof--three of which are personal drivers, and three of which are social drivers--that you can use to create passionate "rock star" advocates.

So you start by coming up with an appealing engagement or advocacy-related offering, based on your personal knowledge of the potential rock star. If she likes to affiliate with certain peers, you start with that. Or if she likes speaking to industry groups, or writing--you can start by offering one of those. Then you add on the motivational drivers to make the offer irresistible.

Here's how to apply this concept to engage that illusive, marquee-brand executive, using a handy template illustrated by a real life example...

Citrix has had tremendous success using this approach with its C-level customers at marquee brand firms such as Deutsche Bank, ITV, Citi, Miami Children's  Hospital, US Dept of Veterans Affairs, Aetna, NYSE, and others.

Since many of them have strict policies against recommending or advocating for vendors, Citrix started with appeals to Affiliation and Autonomy drivers, in the chart above. They decided to create a "Global Customer Council," overseen by Pascal Royale. The Council would be very exclusive, knowing that its customers would want to affiliate with peers at a similar level (C-level) and status. Also, the Council's purpose would be to focus on important business issues they face--not on Citrix. And it would provide members a say in the solutions Citrix responds with (Autonomy), and Citrix committed to responding to this input.

On top of those, Citrix also included enticing Recognition building offers. The firm created the Citrix Innovation Award, which has steadily built media recognition. Citrix also offers to nominate members of the Council for prestigious industry awards, such as the CIO 100 awards, Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders awards, and the like--which members especially appreciate and get excited about. The synergies here are exceptional. Finalists are required to submit a video, press release and perform public facing activities, which they love doing (they're telling their stories) and which, of course, create compelling advocacy for Citrix--while deftly avoiding corporate policies against advocacy.

Citrix provides additional Recognition, as well as expanding their members' networks (Affiliation), with a far-reaching PR machine they've built that gets their stories out to broadcast media.

In this way, subtly and by appealing to customers' motivational drivers rather than offering incentives or rewards, Citrix finds that over time,these C-level customers develop great trust and start finding ways to work around their firms' policies against advocacy.

All the best,

Bill Lee

Heads up: Join us for CommuniCon, an intense one day conference on strategies for building a high-impact customer community, September 29, 2015 in the Bay Area. Details coming soon.

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